Contaminated Food Products

Sep 18th, 2006, in Business & Economy, by

Reliance on chemical pesticides harms Indonesian food and agriculture exports to Europe.

Director General of Horticulture at the Departement of Agriculture, Ahmad Dimyati, said at the opening of the Fourth Trilateral Partnership Meeting between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Holland, in Palembang, on the 14th, that many Indonesian agricultural products were rejected by the European market because of a perception that they contained dangerous chemical residues.

The meeting, also attended by Ahmad’s Dutch and Malaysian counterparts, Crist Kalden and Zulkifli Idris, was told that less than fifty percent of Indonesian farming and fisheries products met lofty European standards. He mentioned some examples: of vegetables as being found to have too high residues of chemical substances; coconut oil being found to be contaminated with diesel fuel; and prawns being contaminated with microbes or heavy metals.

There are still a lot of farming products from Indonesia which are rejected by European markets, above all vegetables. Several countries sometimes reject products only for minor problems such as finding ants on mangosteens.

All groups involved in farming production, from the government to exporters to the farmers themselves, had to work harder to deal with these problems, he said. Farmers had to improve their methods and planting materials and not rely on spraying chemical-based pesticides on their crops. Crop diseases, he said, could be dealt with by the use of naturally occuring microbes or with phyto agents, and he encouraged the building of greenhouses.

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